Barelas MainStreet to focus our activities on the historic 4th Street corridor. Barelas Community Coalition and a local partner (Casa Barelas) assist with events like the Fiestas de Barelas and the Christmas Tree lighting event. Each event drew between 150 and 200 visitors to 4th Street and Pacific Ave, with 6 street vendors at the Fiestas and a holiday gift giveaway to nearly 40 children. We are happy to report that we have initiated our banner project, which features historic pictures of the community. The first group of banners have been put up on 4th Street on the blocks immediately adjacent to Pacific Ave. The banner project has used volunteers of both BMS (Barelas MainStreet) and Casa Barelas.
Additionally, in Summer of 2018, we jointly sponsored a community tree planting event to beautify the residential streets that intersect our Main Street. The event drew close to 45 volunteers who helped plant the trees. This was a project with Tree New Mexico sponsored by city councilor Ike Benton.
The Barelas Community Coalition is in the best shape financially in many years and needs a financial strategy to maintain this status. The Barelas Community Coalition Board has organized a sub-committee focused on City, County and State legislative opportunities for Main Street and the Rail Yards Market.
Economic vitality work is the backbone of our organization this year. We stay in close contact with Zydeco Development as they complete building their mixed-use development at 4th and Coal. This development aims to be a beautiful and significant gateway for our Main Street. We are currently working with the developer on how to proceed with the prospective ground floor retail space. The developer has indicated that they are in private negotiations with two local partners interested in launching a vendor market, similar to the market we have spent the past 2 years discussing with them. Although the exact role of Barelas Community Coalition in this development remains unclear, we are still eager to either manage a market at this location or to work with the developer to source prospective vendors from the community and especially from the Rail Yards Market.
We have been working with a new partner, Homewise, on the renovation of B. Ruppe’s pharmacy, a long-established business on 4th Street, into a small healing-focused development. The idea is to honor the history of this place while transforming it as a location for traditional healing, herbal medicines, massage and related services. We have been working closely with Homewise to attract a food vendor who will lease a good part of the space. We also are supporting the Local Healers Cooperative (Economic vitality/Development) in their efforts to organize and coordinate themselves as sub-tenants of a part of the space. At this point in time Homewise has begun renovations on the building. When complete, will house the restaurant, provide space for the Healer’s Cooperative or therapist as well as community gathering space and a space for continued vending of medicinal herbs.
B Ruppe’s has an MOU in progress which supports maintaining the historical integrity of the mural, store front and specifically includes B’ Ruppe sign be maintained. Completion date is still pending due to findings of asbestos and unexpected cost of rebuilding the kitchen. Latest feedback from our partner is to expect bringing this project online by Summer 2019.
While we understand the need to keep our focus tight on projects within our available bandwidth, we are beginning to chart future efforts for preservation and responsible restoration of all historic signs along the 4th Street Corridor. This includes the old Royal Fork sign, B. Ruppes, Ive’s Flowers, Mel (Christy) Records, Juanita’s (formerly Tasty Freeze), Casa Barelas (done), Arrow Supermarket, Red Ball, and potentially a retro-neon sign for Barelas Coffee House. The potential impact of bringing these old Route 66 signs back to life is amazing and could generate significant later-hours foot traffic. This is a good organizing effort we can embark on to get support from new patrons and the businesses on a plan to raise funds to light these beautiful old signs. Not only an interest at a local level but this could possibly get Barelas Main Street national attention because of its unique nostalgic story.
Other supportive Barelas Main Street project updates include working with Council member Ike Benton on securing capital outlay funds for restriping of 4th Street. The council member has confirmed allocation of the project in the Spring 2019 budget on 4th Street from Coal to Avenida Cesar Chavez.